Our Trip to Nepal (Video)

In the fall of 2015, as chronicled earlier in this blog, Champa and I took an extended trip to Nepal. We visited her home town of Ilam and a small village, Samalbung, and spent time in the Kathmandu Valley. During the second half of the trip we welcomed eight members of our American family for an unforgettable tour, highlighted by the two families coming together. This video has the highlights.

Peaks in the Fog

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Look carefully at the photo. Very carefully. I snapped it on Sunday morning at Sarankot, near Pokhara, in central Nepal. People come here from around the world to see the spectacular sunrise over Fishtail, Annapurna and other famous mountains.

Do you see those amazing white peaks, just behind the big hill in the middle of the photo? That’s where they’re located.

Well, we didn’t see them either.

We awoke early and left our hotel at 5:15 a.m., hoping to watch the sun cast a golden glow on these snow-covered giants. Instead, we saw fog — layers upon layers of dense fog.

imageWe weren’t alone. All around us, people were poised with their cameras and tripods, waiting to snap a photo of a lifetime. Instead, they ended up taking photos of each other, or selfies.

imageNovember is usually among the best months to see Nepal’s famous mountains, especially at sunrise. As they say here, it’s peak season, long past the summer monsoons. But nothing is certain in this country, and Mother Nature has her own ideas about who gets to see her jewels, and when.

We experienced the same disappointment a week earlier when we visited Nagarkot, a resort town north of Kathmandu with a famous view of the eastern Himalayas. There, too, the sunrise and setting were beautiful but we saw only glimpses of the white peaks hidden by fog.

At Sarankot, we waited an hour, hoping the fog would clear. Finally, we gave up and drove back down the hill, stopping at the Bindhyabasini Temple to watch morning puja, or prayers. Sure enough, that’s when the skies finally cleared enough to give us a partial, but wonderful, view of the peaks. The video shows how we were able to see the mountains in one direction and the temple scene in the other.

That’s Nepal. It rarely works the way it’s supposed to. But if you have faith and patience, it usually gives you more than you hoped for.

Comparing Two Trips

With only one week left before we return home, we know how fortunate we have been to have had not one, but two, great adventures since hitting the road in early July 2015. First we traveled around the United States, then in Nepal.

Here are just a few of the many differences we’ve seen along the way:

Memorable Mountains

Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, Montana
Mount Everest
Mount Everest

Memorable Fish

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Catfish Museum, Belzoni, Mississippi
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Weekly fish market, Ilam

Memorable Vehicles

Janis Joplin's Car, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
Janis Joplin’s Car, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
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Highway in Kathmandu

Memorable Snack Foods

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Beignets, New Orleans
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Plate of malpwa, Sanjaya Dewan’s kitchen, Ilam

Engineering Marvels

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Hoover Dam, Nevada/Arizona border
Swayambou Monastary, Kathmandu
Swayambou Monastary, Kathmandu

Moonrises and Sunrises

Herb shop, Arcata, California
Herb shop, Arcata, California
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Sunrise over Himalayas at Antudanda

Temples

Japanese Garden, Spokane, Washington
Japanese Garden, Spokane, Washington
Durbar Square, Kathmandu
Durbar Square, Kathmandu

Blue Devil Fans

G, the Blue Devil gnome, in Indiana
G, the Blue Devil gnome, in Indiana
Raj Bahadur Dewan (Champa's brother), in Ilam
Raj Bahadur Dewan (Champa’s brother), in Ilam

Two Lucky People

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Badlands National Park, South Dakota
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On the trail, Ilam, Nepal